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There is evidence to back up Law's surmise. Several former players at Jayhawk schools who were contacted by SI described work-study arrangements under which players were paid for tasks that could only loosely be considered work.
Two players from France, forward Seydou Kone and guard Mamadou Sy, enrolled at Cloud County C.C. before last season. As foreign students, they did not qualify for federal assistance and had to pay approximately $400 a month in room and board by working a campus job created by the coaching staff. "After practice or games we would put the [team's] jerseys in the washer, go to the weight room and work out, and then stop and go put the jerseys in the dryer and then finish working out," says Kone. "When we were done, we'd take the jerseys out of the dryer and put them in the lockers. That was all we ever did."
Kone says he and Sy, who is still at Cloud County, were paid enough money washing jerseys a few times a week to cover the cost of living in a Cloud County dormitory, though Cloud County's athletic director maintains that the players had other duties. "I know they did more. They refereed intramural games and shagged balls at soccer games," says Matt Bechard, who adds, "There are soon going to be mandates conferencewide that will clarify [the work-study rules] more. It should be run a little tighter."
Jasper McDuffus, a forward who played last season at Cowley C.C., says he got about $200 every two weeks for washing uniforms and cleaning the gym. Terike Barrowes, a forward who also attended Cowley, says he was also paid for cleaning the gym after games; most often he just swept the floor. "It wasn't really work," Barrowes says. Cowley AD Tom Saia declined to discuss Barrowes's and McDuffus's employment directly but said, "All of our kids work."
At some schools the work-study or campus-employment setup was such a sweet deal that players not involved felt slighted. "The rest of us wished we got paid for some of the stuff they did," says Trent Peter, a guard at Dodge City C.C. for two seasons beginning in 2002-03. Peter, from Tribune, Kans., says that out-of-state players at Dodge City got paid for cleaning up the locker room "for about 15 minutes" or going to a women's basketball game and working what coaches called "crowd control."
Athletic director John Rosetti believes Dodge City's work-study arrangement was proper. "I think there are times when the work is not taxing," he says. "Kids might be taking tickets at a game or sweeping a floor. Sometimes it's just busywork, but it's work that needs to get done."
"You hope coaches are doing the right thing. Not everyone is Barton," says Bryce Roderick, Jayhawk Conference commissioner. "Of course, that's not to say everyone is lily-white either."
When asked what might have motivated Wolf, Neil Elliott, Barton's athletic director, doesn't hesitate to answer. "It was clear to me that Ryan was doing everything he could to land a job at a Division I school," he says. "That was Ryan's focus above anything else."
Dan Sparks, president of the NJCAA Coaches Association, says that is the mind-set of many juco coaches. "We have a lot of them, mostly young coaches, who get tied up with assistants at four-year schools," says Sparks, the coach at Vincennes ( Ind.) University since 1978. "They think that if they do the [four-year coaches'] dirty work for them it will land them a Division I job."
Before the summer of 2002 a coach at Missouri informed Wolf that Ricky Clemons, a guard who had signed with the Tigers after spending two seasons at another juco, the College of Southern Idaho, needed additional credits to be eligible that fall. Wolf signed Clemons up for six summer classes at Barton, all taught by the coach or another athletic department employee. According to the indictment, Clemons also took four Internet courses offered by other schools; Wolf paid for some of them with his personal credit card. By summer's end Clemons had accumulated 24 credits and was academically eligible at Missouri.